May 22, 2015

Last Call: Poetry Contest Deadline June 1, 2015

 ­­This is the last call for submissions to the Topanga Messenger’s poetry contest for poets to submit their poems (no longer than 50 lines) before or on June 1. Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert has provided a “prompt” to inspire your Muse. Lupert has been involved in the Los Angeles poetry community since 1990 and created the Poetry Super Highway (, an online resource and publication for poets. He is also a juror for the cont… [Read More...]

Topanga Elementary School Students Perform in All-Schools Honor Concert

 Local Topanga Elementary School musicians, Sirus Commack and Levko Fedorowyz, recently performed in a citywide student orchestra of 140 of the area’s brightest students from two dozen Los Angeles area elementary schools. The boys and girls presented a one-hour program of classical and popular music at the 17th Annual All Schools Elementary Honor Orchestra Concert in UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall on Saturday, May 2, 2015. The pe… [Read More...]

City Hearts Kicks Off 30th Anniversary—Big Time

 It’s been more than 30 years since Sherry Jason watched a young prodigy playing Mozart by ear on a battered piano at Los Angeles’ Central Juvenile Hall—just before he was to be incarcerated for murder. She couldn’t let go of that image—and years later Sherry and Bob Jason started City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts in a small studio in downtown Los Angeles. Now, 30 years and 35,000 students later, more than 120… [Read More...]

As You Like It Opens June 7 at the Theatricum Botanicum

 Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its 2015 “Americana” season with an all-American staging of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, re-set in the divided South of the post-Civil War era and featuring traditional American folk music and dance from that period. As You Like It opens on Sunday, June 7 at 3:30 p.m. A tale about two sets of brothers—one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy—The Sha… [Read More...]

FILM: Mad Max is Missing in Action

 Bullets and bombs fly by, but where is the story? For anyone who is pre-millennial, Mad Max was an amazing film franchise with the ability to speak about political and environmental concerns while kicking wholesale butt in awesome leather fetish garb. Now would be the appropriate time to eulogize said franchise because after spending years in development hell, it’s hard to argue that Mad Max: Fury Road sh… [Read More...]

MOMentum Place Thrills at the Theatricum

 Never has “expect the unexpected” seemed more fitting than when describing Lexi Pearl’s MOMentum Place. Now in its 17th year, the May 10th show, so named because it now always happens on Mother’s Day, once again dazzled a sold-out Theatricum Botanicum with everything from edge-of-your-seat high-flying acrobatics to dance to music to mischievous comedic hijinks. Although some of the cast had worked together before, remarkably,… [Read More...]

ESSAY: Havana Honeymoon, ca. 1959

 In January, 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew the American supported Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista and installed a Marxist government. At this time President Eisenhower still maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba. When my then fiancé and I planned our Cuban honeymoon, my Great Aunt Mary, who lived in Havana, told us life was proceeding as usual under Castro. At that point, he was still setting up his new government. It’s early July, 1959, and we a… [Read More...]

Geer and Potenza Inspire at Topanga Authors Group

 While they didn’t intend to, panelists Ellen Geer, Artistic Director of the Theatricum Botanicum, and Flavia Potenza, Editor of the esteemed Topanga Messenger, shocked their audience at the May 6 Topanga Authors Group (TAG) discussion. Sitting right there in front of everyone, they spoke it aloud, bold as pie and revealed their age. Gasps from the audience came not as a response to their admissions but to the unbelievable youth both ladies posse… [Read More...]

TAG Presents Roundtable Discussion of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” June 3

 Lead actors from Theatricum Botanicum’s 2015 summer repertory season take a break from rehearsals of Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee, to join Topanga Author Group’s (TAG) June 3 Roundtable (7-9 p.m. at the Topanga Library). In the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in 1935, Tom Robinson (Max Lawrence) is on trial for [allegedly]raping Mayella… [Read More...]

INTERVIEW: Catching up with…Eric V. Hachikian and Peter Nashel

 Netflix’s Marco Polo composers share insight on the series and composing. Eric Hachikian and Peter Nashel are friends and composers. The duo got to work together for the Netflix series “Marco Polo.” The composers shared their feeling on the work and working together as they ramp up for season two. Topanga Messenger: The story of Marco Polo is so ubiquitous. What were you looking for to add to this series as a composer? … [Read More...]